Artist interview 2017
Why do you choose to paint seascapes?
Seascapes and water have always interested me, ever since childhood. I grew up one mile from the sandy beach at St Annes-on-sea in Lancashire and being surrounded by nature and the sea made a lasting impression. It is somewhere I love to be and it brings me closer to myself and to happy memories of the past.
Artistically, seascapes are interesting to me as they are fluid, changing environments that can be mirrored through the painting process. Light and movement on the coast is so beautiful and I never tire of trying to capture them.
Can you tell me more about your painting process?
The oils are painted wet-into-wet but repeatedly, mostly it is one day after the next, on occasion I leave it for a few days. So the paintings end up multi-layered. Sometimes I spend long concentrated sessions painting and I find I have to focus on one painting at a time, rather than a handful of paintings.
I am interested in keeping to the important, essential qualities of the subject seen, as well as introducing an expressive aspect. So I tend to do lots of observation from the beach which helps to inform my paintings.
My compositions start off in a minimal way but become more complex as the painting develops and I balance all the shapes and colours into a whole.
The painting process is a journey of stages and isn’t always a cumulative, advancing one. Many times the only way forward is to scrape back and build on the experience to take the painting in a better direction. I don’t have a clear idea of the finished painting in mind when I start, only intangible snippets of experience or images in my head from something I’ve witnessed from nature.
In the past I’d work to create interesting creative marks, but I find these appear naturally now, as a by-product of my own painting process. I still value the traditional, technically correctly way of painting as much as possible, using thinner layers and established, permanent colours whenever possible.
My style of work has slowly developed over more than ten years now. I am largely self-taught so many of the 'expressive' ways I paint come from practical necessity - how to express what I need to express. I am striving for something new (within the self-imposed framework of a 2D illusional space) but using time-tested traditional mediums.
What are your artistic influences?
My influences are mainly artists from an earlier age. Modernist artists like Matisse, Cezanne and some of the London School painters. Frank Auerbach held interest for me in the beginning of my journey as a painter. I admire all modern architecture and photography.
What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I hope to not just be an artist who copies nature but allows you, the viewer, to re-experience life by seeing my painting. An artwork needs an inner energy, a uniqueness and a life that is visually interesting, bringing you more immediately into the present. Ultimately, art leads you towards a deeper appreciation of the life we live.